S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com ORDNANCE Page 1 keywords = ordnance Aberdeen Proving Ground Jarrett Churchill Yuma tank armor track history self-propelled artillery gun cannon rifle recoil HARP Maryland airplane bomb shell cartidge casing ammunition ammo FLZ Franz Langenhan Zella Mehlis Kropatschek Werndl Steyr Gras Lebel Comet Authenticast

Updated:  24 Mar 2015; 11:15  ET
[Page created 12 Feb 2002;

[original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/ordnanc1.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/ordnanc1.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's




This continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 2.

Please refer to the HELP section on Continuation Page 3.


On the Main Ordnance Page:
  "Jeep" vs. "GP"   new.gif (11 Jan 10)
  Unindexed ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA, below

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 0:
    (combined here from the Main Page and Continuation Pages 1 and 2 on 18 Dec 2006).

On this Ordnance Continuation Page 1:

    (Moved from Ordnance Page 2 on 12 Feb 2002).

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 2:

On Ordnance Continuation Page 3:
  CALIBER (Calibre).
  Anzio Annie
  Russian Armor

On Ordnance Continuation Page 4:
  Drake Cannon
  Coastal Defense Guns at Fort Casey
  M274 Mechanical Mule (31 Oct 2008)
  M2-M3-M4 MEDIUM TANK SUSPENSIONS (01 Mar 2015) new.gif (01 Mar 2015)
  M3 Medium Tank - Lee vs. Grant (01 Mar 2015) new.gif (01 Mar 2015)

On the Atomic Cannon Page:
  Atomic Cannon CQ (Seek You = HELP!)

On the Atomic Cannon Continuation Page 1:
  Atomic Cannon in Asia!

Ordnance Models Page.

The Ordnance Supergun Page

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.

- WWII tank ID plates and nameplates available on cont. page 2!

note-rt.gif - Les Canons de l'Apocalypse (The Cannons of the Apocalypse) is a site covering all the giant guns of WWI and WWII; it is absolutely incredible!  The only catch is that it is seulement en français (entirely in French).  The Google translation is awful; if you can struggle through in French, give a go; otherwise just use the cannon shells at the top and bottom (left is back, right is forward) to navigate and enjoy the fabulous pictures.  You'll find the Paris gun, Big Bertha, the K-5 and K-12, Dora, our 280, and the HARP and Saddam (Bull) guns, and far more!

As noted on the main Ordnance page, army ordnance buffs should visit the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground off Routes 40 and I95 just south of Havre de Grâce and the Susquehanna River Toll Bridge - very much worth the time (and allow plenty of that, in proportion to your interest!).  There are acres of tanks and armored vehicles, domestic and foreign, of all eras, Anzio Annie, a 280mm Atomic Cannon, a 16" coastal defence gun, a V1 buzz bomb and a V2 rocket, and a great indoor museum with a fine small arms collection!  This fabulous museum is an absolute must for the ordnance devotée!  More about the Museum and its history is on the main Ordnance page.

Entrance to the Museum is from the main gate on Route 40 just south of Aberdeen and one rides in along an "Avenue of Tanks", the center strip of a divided highway.  Among the more classic WWI, WWII, and later vehicles, are this 1941 M3A1 General Grant* (the British General Lee* was a similar tank without the high .50 cal. turret atop the middle 37mm turret) and a 1942 M4A4 Sherman, plus, just for comparison, an M4 sitting outside the Roberts-Glad VFW Post 1727 in Aitken, Minnesota:

41 M3A1 at APG Ord Museum  42 M4A4 at APG Ord Museum  M4 at Aitken, MN
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photos - left and center / Aitken Independant Age - by permission - right)

Note that the return rollers on the M3 are centered above the vertical-volute-spring bogies (as also applied to early M4s) while those on the Aitken M4 are offset to the rear and that the APG M4A4 has the later horizontal spring suspension; these show the three distinct types applied to the M4-series.

* - Uh, oh!  Icks (1945, pp. 52 & 111/140 - see Ordnance Bibliography on Page 3) reverses these and says the American tank with the third turret was a Lee and the British tank was a Grant - that's not how I remember it nor how the Museum labelled it.

This is the Ordnance Museum from the air, looking north; the main building is in the upper left, the "Avenue of Tanks" along the road from the main entrance is out of sight at the bottom left, the 16" coastal defence gun (marked "A") in the lower left center, and Anzio Annie ("B") and the Atomic Cannon ("C") just off the image to the left as marked.

APG Ord Museum
(altered from Ordnance Museum Foundation Photo)

Here is Anzio Annie (the 280mm German "Leopold" K5 railroad gun - see also below) before she came to APG:

Anzio Annie (Leopold) RR Gun
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photo)

and as she sits on a scrap of track now:

Anzio Annie (Leopold) RR Gun at APG   Anzio Annie (Leopold) RR Gun at APG
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photos)

[More on Anzio Annie on Page 3.]

See also the The Patton Museum of Calvary and Armor at Ft. Knox in Radcliff, Kentucky; it features the evolution of Armor and includes exhibits of armored vehicles.


[Additional unindexed Ordnance apocrypha was moved from here to:
Ordnance Continuation Page 0 on 18 Dec 2006.]

GE made an armored boxcab locomotive in Oct-Nov 1918, too late to see service in France and I didn't seem to know anything about it!  As a railroad nut, as well, and especially as an early boxcab locomotive "expert" (freak?), I should.

Well, I finally ran across a photo of that 1918 Army unit, on page 140 of "Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years - A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972, by Louis A. Marre, Railroad Reference Series No. 10, Kalmbach Publishing Corp., 1995, ISBN 0-89024-258-5.

Further, a correspondent reports that one of the Canadian National Railroad's early diesel locomotives may have ended up pulling an armored train during WWII on the West Coast of Canada; he's not sure if it's one of the two boxcab engines in a rail museum south of Montréal (which I'd visited many years past, couldn't find hide nor hair of recently, and finally located at St. Constant/Delson - check my BOXCABS page for news).  However, a Canadian correspondent writes that it just ain't so; we shall see.

See Ordnance page 2 for RAILROAD GUNS and ATOMIC CANNON.

See Ordnance page 3 for Russian Armor, with a link to a Dutch site and a Kiev museum with a twin-122mm-turreted armored railcar,
    and HELP!, where I post inquiries (or offers) solely at my own discretion.

Chrysler did an enormous amount of war work in the 1940s, but their 1940s Heritage pages have errors:

For the 1940s, they state that war production included "Pershing tanks and 40mm trailer-mounted antiaircraft guns".  They produced thousands of M3 Grant/Lee and M4 Sherman tanks, which won the war; the Pershing only came along at the very end.  The 40mm towed mount was not trailer-mounted but had integral retractable road gear.

I could swear I had this up on these or the Chrysler pages but can't find it,
so here we go again (in both places):

Speaking of Chrysler, as noted on my Chrysler page 2, when engines were hard to come by during WWII, Chrysler also fitted one of the M4 Sherman medium tank series (the Canadian Sherman V) with the really-strange A57 motor made from five (5) readily-available Royal 6 L-head engine blocks and heads, arranged in "W" fashion [ _\|/_], with a common crankcase and crankshaft, sort of like a weird cross between a radial and an in-line aircraft engine; here, courtesy of David Zatz's allpar.com site, it is at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum:

A57 Tank Engine
(Bob Sheaves photo courtesy of D. Zatz - all rights reserved.)
[Image artificially lightened by SB,III to bring out detail]

[The photos from Don Dingwall's former Canadian AFV site (now a commercial AFV markings site), two old WWII photos of an A57 changeout (from the Public Archives of Canada) have vanished (as has Don's Sherman page) and can not (so far) be replaced.] The photos which formerly were posted here were taken when Sherman V s/n T-146576 "ANT" of the A Squadron, the Calgary Regiment, was being serviced with a Scammell wrecker of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade at their workshop in October 1943 (probably on the toe of the Italian boot in Calabria shortly after the landing).  In the first photo (how often do you get to look into the empty engine compartment of an M4 these days?), you could clearly make out the bottom left and intermediate left flat heads, with their exposed spark(ing) plugs and the giant radiator to the right; this latter showed all too well in the lower photo, hiding the entire rest of the engine (will you look at the slack in that track?).  Don noted that ANT was one of the original tanks that came to the Italian front from the UK with the regiment; I assume that the dented idler wheel is from the right track and may well have something to do with why the engine needed replacement.  {Actually, this looked more like heavy repair than a changeout to me.}]

{These photos, and possibly more, have been located,
courtesy of the Library of Canada,
and should reappear here shortly.}

Can anyone out there please supply a Chrysler or Ordnance
cross-section drawing or diagram of the A57 engine?

Chrysler's Dodge Division made all sorts of vehicles during the WWII (including a very odd amphibian truck, the Cheetah); perhaps their most famous vehicle was their ¾-ton truck, used variously as a personnel carrier, weapons carrier, ambulance, radio truck, and open command car.  My personal favorite was always the closed vehicle, like a giant station wagon, which became known after the war in civilian guise as the Dodge Power Wagon "Carry-All".  I always wanted one, couldn't justify one, and never did get one until, at a Greenberg's Train Show on 23 Mar 2002 in Stony Brook, Long Island, NY, I casually asked a dealer in military models if anyone had ever made a model of that particular body style.  His response was, "You mean like that one?" and there it was in all its glory in (I assume) 1:35 scale; far too much cash changed hands and:

Verem Carry-All 1 Verem Carry-All 3

Verem Carry-All 2 Verem Carry-All 4
(02 Oct 2004 Photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved;
replacing 25 Mar 2002 photos which vanished.)

This is a custom French model by Verem S.A. of Beuil, France, with a Dodge WC53 resin body on a chassis marked:

DODGE WC54 1/5 1989 solido MADE IN FRANCE

it had fine decals on it which were curling up and I was rather angry until the dealer assured me that this was a 10-year-old collectors item and that Solvaset or equivalent would soften the decals and snug them back down since they were not brittle.  The Solvaset caused the decals to disintegrate, so, collectors item or no, I removed the lot since I am neither a collector nor a purist (at least not in this regard) and they were very poorly applied in the first place.  This dealer also told me that the dark paint vs. the lighter paint had to do with commercial models; horse puckies!  The Solido grille, wheels, and underbody are also that lighter shade (exaggerated in the photos) and so is the sprue of long and short whip antennae (which don't fit the socket) included in the box, which is hot stamped "REF. V 4006 DODGE WC53".  Regardless, I have it and I love it and, even if I can't ride around in it, I can enjoy the sight of it in front of me every day.

    Verrrry interesting!  Just how is either side door to open?

That same dealer, who turns out to be Carmelo Sancetta, d/b/a Northern Spur Trains, was at the Greenberg show at Hofstra University on 23 Oct 04 and, while not on the Net, accepts mail orders:

Carmelo Sancetta
P. O. Box 1286-M
Bay Shore, New York  11706-0537

He says stock on the Carry-All is getting very low.

See the Dodge Power Wagon section for much more on these vehicles.

[Additional unindexed Ordnance apocrypha was moved from here to:
Ordnance Continuation Page 0 on 18 Dec 2006.]
  new.gif (19 Dec 06)

    (Ordnance apocrypha continued on Ordnance Continuation Page 1)

More on the 280mm Atomic Cannon - continued:

Hal Hildebrecht (haltrvlr@aol.com) from Cleveland, Ohio, wrote 27 Sep 02 that he was with the 868 FA BN at Fort Bragg and Baumholder, Germany, from 1953 to 1956 with the 280mm Atomic Cannon, serving as driver, cannoneer, artillery mechanic, and finally Section Chief.  He used to fire the piece with a 3' rope and then ride the carriage back into battery (nuts, just like me!) and is still surprised he can hear anything today.  He wrote again on 03 Oct 02 that may he have started the "Atomic Annie" nickname by painting names and pictures on all the battalian guns, Atomic Annie (with a witch riding a shell), L'il Ajax, Ye Olde Ironsides, etc.  His gun appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in October, 1953, and the name may have stuck from that.

Hal sent pictures but I couldn't download them; stay tuned.

Hal is the guy who has a copy of that picture of an inverted 280 with all the wheels in the air, after turning turtle in Germany; can't wait to see it again after all these years!

He also still has his 1958 Renwal model and sent a slew of pix; unfortunately, the lighting was poor, so I'll only show a representative few, cropped and at much lower resolution:

Renwal2803 Renwal2804
(Cropped and altered from photos by H. Hildebrecht - all rights reserved)


Renwal2806 Renwal2807

Renwal2808 Renwal2809

Renwal28010 Renwal28011

(Cropped and altered from photos by H. Hildebrecht - all rights reserved)

There is a kit on eBay as I write this (03 Mar 03), Item #3117941072, already over $150.00(!) with 8 hours to go!  Ludicrously, it's listed under "Toys & Hobbies:Models:Military:Air!  Hot, maybe.


Here's a stein from C Battery, 265th Field Artillery Battalion in Baumholder, 1955-58:

AtCannStein1 AtCannStein2 AtCannStein3
[eBay Item #2160347750 - photos by, and with permission of, A. W. (seller), NL - all rights reserved.]

The stein is 9" high and bears the shield of the 265th, reading "Optimus Peromnia".

Incidentally, the 280 (11") is an odd caliber; the U. S. Army has (or had) a standard series of gun carriages and gun motor carriages in which the long gun and corresponding short howitzer shared all components except barrel, ammo, recoil, and equilibration.  They are (or were):


    Gun			How.
    3"/76mm			105mm (4.1")
    105/120mm (4.1/3.7")	155mm (6.1")
    155/175mm (6.1/6.9")	8" (203mm)
    8"			240mm (9.5")
Those last two monsters were never in volume production, especially not as S.P.s (although operating and firing those brutes was impressive, to say the least!).

Gotta admit, though, I'm not REALLY sure where the 155mm Howitzer fit in there.

Not at all incidentally (it wasn't called the Atomic Cannon or Atomic Annie for nothing you know, this is what it was all about:

Live Firing 280
(Photo courtesy of Les Canons de l'Apocalypse - all rights reserved)

This was on 25 May 1953, when gun #9 fired the only live round ever, a 15 Kiloton weapon, at a distance of 17 miles (27 km) at the Nevada atomic test site (as best as I recall, this was the idiotic exercise where real, live (then) soldiers participated and were sent into the base of the mushroom cloud {wonder how they are today? - SB,III}.

I worked on the 175mm gun at Aberdeen in the early '50s, both as a towed mount almost identical to the 280 (when deployed), just a good bit smaller, and as an S.P. (or possibly still called a G.M.C. - Gun Motor Carriage); the latter was fitted in a beefed-up 155mm gun carriage, the old experimental model with a fully-enclosed armored cab on an armored chassis (wonder where my scale model went?) and was the T-162 (I believe).  They and their 8" howitzer equivalent never were adopted (nuclear protection ceased to be a major factor) and smaller, lighter, unarmored, open S.P. mounts were standardized - the M-109 (155mm gun), M-107 (175mm gun), and M-110 (8"/203mm howitzer).  The whole point of the 175 was to fire a miniaturized atomic shell and we called her the "Baby Atomic Cannon" (some Baby!) and the enclosed mount was supposed to have provided blast, flash, and radiation shielding (HA - shows what they knew!).

If anyone out there has photos of the old enclosed 175 (T-162?), PLEASE send it/them to me!

[Looks like I found "her" (there apparently were three T-162 units built) at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma; pictures should follow,]   new (24 Jun 2010)

I found three fantastic sites with coverage of the 280 and of AFVs and also one with coverage of superguns; I started a separate page on the latter.  The sites are:

    Les Canons de l'Apocalypse (The Cannons of the Apocalypse), in French, as noted above,

    AFV Database, and

    JED Military Enthusiasts Directory


    Encyclopedia Astronautica - Gun-Launched.

There were superguns on rails in our Civil War; the Confederates had a monster naval rifle on a rail car that operated on the newly-fledged Richmond & York Valley Railroad (later the West Point Branch of the Southern):

ConfRRGun ConfRRGun1

It was a rifled and banded 32 pounder (15") weighing over 3 tons and was apparently the first railroad gun to see combat.  Countering that was the Union's "Dictator," a 13-inch mortar operated around Petersburg just before the Appomatox surrender and it fired a 200 pound shell some three miles or more:

(Cropped images and data from Southern Railfan.)

The ORDNANCE page had to be split; this is a continuation of the ORDNANCE Main Page and, in turn, continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 2 and ORDNANCE Continuation Page 3.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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